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15 Times Andrew Lloyd Webber (Allegedly) Copied Music From Himself Or Others

1. The Structure of ‘Love Never Dies’

Although it suffers from a weak story, the musical “Love Never Dies” has some beautiful music and has obvious parallels to its predecessor, “The Phantom of the Opera.” Among the borrowed tropes are a Phantom solo in the first act (“‘Til I Hear You Sing”), Christine’s big second-act solo (“Love Never Dies”), a rock-influenced duet in the first act (“The Beauty Underneath”) and an erotic duet between the Phantom and Christine (“Beneath a Moonless Sky”).

2. The Outro of ‘Look With Your Heart’

In “Love Never Dies,” the music box melody at the end of this number (which signals the Phantom’s quiet entrance) is the identical opening melody of “The Point of No Return” in “The Phantom of the Opera.”

3. The Song ‘Love Never Dies’

A more appropriate title might be “This Song Never Dies.” The song’s melody debuted as “The Heart Is Slow to Learn” in 1998 at a Royal Albert Hall celebration of Lloyd Webber’s music. The chorus melody was then recycled as “Our Kind of Love” for Lloyd Webber’s musical “The Beautiful Game.” The song’s third and final form was as the title song for “Love Never Dies” in 2010.

4. The Song ‘Music of the Night’

The song “The Music of the Night” from “The Phantom of the Opera” was the subject of controversy after the estate of Giacomo Puccini filed a lawsuit against Lloyd Webber. Puccini’s estate had argued that the melody in the lyrics “Silently the senses abandon their defenses” was stolen from an excerpt of the opera “La Fanciulla del West.” The lawsuit was settled out of court. Lloyd Webber had originally planned to use the melody for “The Music of the Night” under different lyrics for his show “Aspects of Love,” but that song, titled “Married Man,” was cut from the final version of “Aspects.”

5. The Song ‘Make Up My Heart’

Speaking of Puccini, the opening riff of this song from “Starlight Express” is almost identical to the opening of “Musetta’s Waltz” from Puccini’s “La Boheme.”

6. The Title Theme From ‘The Phantom of the Opera’

The chromatic title theme of Lloyd Webber’s most famous musical is eerily similar to a certain riff from Pink Floyd’s song “Echoes.” The band’s bassist at the time, Roger Waters, never sought legal action, claiming that “life’s too long to bother with suing” Lloyd Webber. Some people have even pointed out similarities to the intro of Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.”

7. The ‘Mirror Scene’ From ‘The Phantom of the Opera’

The line, “I am your Angel of Music” sounds suspiciously similar to a passage (skip to 1:20) from “The Battle on the Ice” from Sergei Prokofiev’s “Alexander Nevsky.”

8. The Song ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him.’

Mary Magdalene’s solo from “Jesus Christ Superstar” has been scrutinized for sounding too similar to the Andante movement from Mendelssohn’s “Violin Concerto in E Minor” (skip to 0:33).

9. The Song ‘Memory’

“Memory” from the musical “Cats” has been noted for its similarities to the main melody in Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.”

10. ‘King Herod’s Song’ and ‘Try It And See’

The melody to “King Herod’s Song” from “Jesus Christ Superstar” was originally taken from “Try It and See,” which Lloyd Webber wrote for the Italian rock singer Rita Pavone.

11. The Duet ‘All I Ask of You.’

The classic duet from “The Phantom of the Opera” was originally a solo that Lloyd Webber wrote titled “I Don’t Talk to Strangers,” recorded by opera superstar Plácido Domingo.

12. The Song ‘’Til I Hear You Sing’

The Phantom’s solo from “Love Never Dies” borrows a melody from “If Not For Me, For Her” from Lloyd Webber’s “The Woman in White.” The Phantom’s melody for “And sometimes at nighttime, I dream that you are there” is almost identical to Marian’s lyrics “I know that I’ve wronged you, and that I can’t defend.”

13. The Song ‘As If We Never Said Goodbye’

In Norma’s big solo from Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard,” the melody for the lyrics “I don’t want to be alone / That’s all in the past” is identical to the original version of “Half a Moment” from “Jeeves.”

14. The Song ‘If This Is What We’re Fighting For’

The opening for this solo in Lloyd Webber’s “The Beautiful Game” is almost identical to “Will This Last Forever?” from his show “The Likes of Us,” which was written in 1965 but not performed until 2005.

15. The Entire ‘Variations’ Set

Lloyd Webber’s “Variations” set (1978) is based on the theme from Paganini’s 24th Caprice, a virtuoso showstopper for classical violinists.

Joseph Kisiday

Written by Joseph Kisiday

Joseph Kisiday is a 2016 graduate from Christopher Newport University, majoring in Music Composition. Joseph's love for theatre came at a young age through discovering the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber, such as "Cats" and "The Phantom of the Opera." When he is not writing, Joseph can be found watching operas or Miyazaki films.

2 Comments

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  1. Hi Joseph,

    I stumbled across this whilst watching ‘Song And Dance.’ The ‘Married Men’ song sounded familiar, so I googled it and this page came up – it was nice to be proved right! (although I originally thought the tune was re-used in Evita, not Phantom, so I guess I was proved slightly wrong!) You make some really interesting comparisons here – the similarity between ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ and the Mendelssohn Concerto is startling – a shame as it’s one of my favourite tunes from JCS, only beaten by the beautiful ‘Could We Start Again Please?’) So, did Lloyd Webber actively ‘steal’ this, or did he hear the melody, subconsciously store it away and it just re-surfaced years later? I’d prefer to think the latter: I once wrote a love song to a girl (oh, the crazy things we do!) and years later someone pointed out that the chord structure was exactly the same as ‘Sometimes When We Touch’. I didn’t actively steal this – the chords just supported the melody I was writing at the time.

    The comparison between ‘Memory’ and ‘Bolero’ is a lot less convincing – I’ll grant that the opening phrases are a little bit alike, but that’s all I can hear (although, like anything in music, it’s subjective). And the same with the descending/rising semitones in ‘Phantom’ vs. Pink Floyd’s ‘Echoes’. The use of semitones to move from one root to another root is hardly an exclusive idea – the only similarity here is going down in semitones and then coming back up again. I don’t think this is deliberate plagiarism.

    And I think you’re having a bit of a musical joke with us when you compare ‘Variations’ to, errrr….., ‘Variations’. On the album, Lloyd Webber lists track 2 as “”Theme (Paganini Caprice in A minor No. 24)”, so he’s hardly trying to fool us into thinking he wrote it! And BTW I’ve never actually heard the Paganini variations played until I clicked your YouTube link: what a phenomenally difficult piece to play! Just sight-reading it gave me a headache!

    I appreciate that you’re just listing alleged comparisons here, and you’re not personally suggesting any plagiarism. As such, it made for a very interesting read so thank you very much for compiling this.

    Regards,

    Miles Forman
    Musical Director on Cruise Ships

  2. Listening now for the first time to The Woman In White and immediately picked up on a little Melody in Perspective that he borrowed from himself as a leitmotif in Love Never Dies – I cannot recall which song it features most prominently in, but I’m sure it’s Meg Giry’s character that uses the melody.

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